Sunday, August 9, 2009

French Table

French Table

Several times a year, I would be assigned to sit at the French Table at my boarding school, St. Mary’s. We would only be allowed to speak French during our meals so, often, we would find ourselves at a loss for words. This, however, was quickly compensated for by giggles, smirks, and surreptitious kicks under the table.
The reason for the hilarity was our French teacher.

Madame was an over-the-top middle aged woman but, to our perspective, she was ancient. She was all of five feet tall in her sensible heel shoes. She did provide a constant source of entertainment. Her brown pageboy wig would slip over the eyebrow (one or another) and those, in themselves, would wander all over her face, as did her lipstick, drawn on by a not too steady hand.

She would try to make each of us speak in turn, but her own alcohol laden speech would slur into incomprehensibility. We all managed to get some stilted sentences out, all the while trying to hold back the spontaneous eruptions of laughter.

Once, when I had eaten a very filling dinner, I exclaimed, “Je suis plein!”

Madame was horrified. She turned red, and then white, and eventually stuttered that I had just informed everyone that I was pregnant. And I thought that I was saying, “I am full”.

Alors, sa va!

Prema Rose

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